Music vet and New Times scribe Lee Zimmerman offers his insights, opinions and observations about the local scene. This week: How to screw up your kid from day one.
The holiday season is only now getting underway. but it's the perfect time to pick out a musical gift for any child on your holiday list. But a word of caution. Better to consider Twinkle Twinkle Little Rock Star, a new collection of lullabies adapted from rock 'n' roll classics, for April Fool's Day instead. A dubious entry in what has become a new trend in children's music, these tunes for tots are hardly PG and may cause the parent of the tot you give them to to forever banish you from their premises.
Although I'm not totally clear on the reasoning behind this somewhat twisted premise, it does appear to serve one of two purposes. One, it offers the child ample opportunity to elevate its hipness level from an insanely early age, thereby offering the chance to impress fellow toddlers with the fact that they know the entire Metallica catalogue, as translated into lovely and cuddly nocturnal melodies specially adapted for the postnatal set. Hey, it's more impressive than sucking on a stuffed animal or pooping in one's diapers. Or two, it serves the infant's parents' unnatural obsession with rock 'n' roll, an obsession so overwhelming that they need to force feed it to their newborn, thereby increasing the chances that fully half of the baby's brain cells will be turned to mush by the time it enters kindergarten.
Okay, I exaggerate, but there is cause for suspicion given this latest outrageous entry in the baby rock juggernaut, one that really calls into question the reasoning behind the product and the logic of any caregiver that might actually think it appropriate for any kind of crib consumption.
Rather than attempt to explain the rationale ourselves, we'll defer to the press release that announced this dubious debut. "Twinkle Twinkle Little Rock Star was born for the parent that wants to pass along their biggest passion to their child, music. Twinkle Twinkle Little Rock Star transforms popular music into instrumental lullabies perfect for babies, yoga or just relaxation. Now, parents can enjoy the music from Lady GaGa to Metallica in soothing lullaby style. With over 135 titles to choose from, Twinkle Twinkle Little Rock Star is the largest line of pop, rock, metal and jam band music lullabies in the world."
Ummm, well, alrighty then. Still, while we have to concede that Manson's cover of "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" may seem appropriate for the wee set's bedtime pastime, we do tend to balk at such selections as "The Dope Show," "This Is the New Shit," and "I Don't Like the Drugs" being deemed appropriate for newborns (although admittedly the latter could be construed as a life lesson of sorts). There are few rules on how to be a parent, but surely one of the unspoken truths is not to expose your child to Marilyn Manson singing about controlled substances before the age of one. What's next, opium teething rings, goth teddybears, candy coke spoons? You really want your baby to emulate someone who describes himself as the Antichrist? Isn't it tough enough raising kids these days?
For further explanation, let's again go back to that press release. "These aren't novelty recordings. They are cute, they are soft but these are serious recordings... Let's face it, much like the brand name clothes you buy for your infant, this music is really for you. Whether you are raising a metal baby, rocker or hippie baby, Twinkle Twinkle Little Rock Star has your music transformed from arena anthems into nursery classics."
In other words, why wait for adolescence. Screw your kid up from day one. Why not help them hate you? Let the soothing influence of a perverted rock star guide them towards that inevitable feeling of revulsion and rebellion. And hey, if this does lead to common ground, you can always make rocker rehab a family affair.